Dhanvantari: The Heavenly Physician

Origins:
Dhanvantari is the God of Medicine, Dhanvantari has many myths and legends woven around him – such as the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. He emerged with the pot of ambrosia / amrita (symbolic of medicine) in his hand from the ocean when it was churned by the contesting gods and demons. He is the very incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Dhanvantari is often depicted as holding a pot – the immortality nectar Amrita – here he is arising from the ocean of milk

His importance:
Dhanvantari is regarded as the founder of Ayurveda. While Dhanvantari is not credited with any medical treatise of his own, in the early accounts, there is a voluminous glossary and material medical in nine sections known as Dhanvantari-Nighantu (the oldest medical glossery). There are a few other works which are also ascribed to Dhanvantari.

Dhanvantari as Divodasa:
In legends he often appears as Divodasa, the price of Benaras (Kasiraja). He was a person – though this true identity is lost. He wandered about as a mendicant even during his early years. He is believed to have taught surgery to Susrutha (who wrote the Susrutha Samhita) and other sages.

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